Friday, September 12, 2014

308. The Midnight Special: CAPT. MIDNIGHT "MYSTERY DIAL CODE-O-GRAPH"

Captain Midnight was a popular U.S. radio series that began in 1938 in Chicago, created by Robert M. Burtt and Wilfred G. Moore. At the onset, "Captain Midnight" was simply an undercover name for pilot  Jim "Red" Albright. As an agent, he helped gather information to capture criminals. Captain Midnight was constantly trying to stop the plans of the evil Ivan Shark, remaining his evil nemesis throughout its radio run. He found help in Chuck Ramsey,a member of his Secret Squadron and Patsy Donovan. The series grew in popularity and was broadcast over the Mutual Network beginning in 1940 sponsored by Ovaltine.
The company had been looking for a heroic figure to sponsor their product, Ovaltine, as the country seemed headed for World War. Continuing the tradition of their previous series, Radio Orphan Annie, the company began to integrate coded messages and club identification into the episodes--brass examples of which were given out to viewers as premiums.
The "Mystery Dial Code-o-Graph" , first given in December 1940, was so called because the center of the inner disc was supposed to look like the dial knob of a radio. It was used to send a secret message to listeners about the next program episode. To decode, one had to turn the dial, which  proved to be a chore, what with the setting windows located at the back. The secret messages to decode were always given at the end as a "Secret Squadron Signal Session.".
The brass decoder has a slot for Capt. Midnight's picture (missing) and came with a manual, such as the one you see here. This highly prized radio collectible--available on ebay from a low of $69.95 to a high of $139--without a manual, was purchased complete and intact in its own envelope, originally addressed to a young radio fan from New Jersey.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

307. True Colors: TV CARTOONS MINI-COLORING BOOKS

I first saw this set of small coloring books being sold at Visual Mix, a 2nd-hand book shop that has evolved into the giant used book shop chain, Book Sale. Of course, I just had to get them; they were no ordinary color books to me--they depicted cartoon characters which I watched avidly back in the 70s and early '80s. There was PAC-MAN, based on a Japanese computer game, Pakkuman;  MARVEL'S SECRET WARS that featured all my fave super heroes like Thor, the Hulk and Spiderman; HERCULOIDS, a Hanna Barbera cartoon that had characters out to save the planet like Zandor, Tara, Dorno and Gloop & Gleep. Finally, there was POPEYE, THE SAILOR MAN, that had its beginnings in 1933, although the cartoons I remember were produced by King Features Syndicate from the 60s.
These were cheap Philippine reprints, nostalgic paper relics of  Saturday mornings of marathon cartoon-watching, when the world and I were younger.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

306. Advertique: MENNEN POWDER TIN

POWDER TO THE PEOPLE! MennenTalcum For Men. Vintage powder tin, 5" high.

The Mennen Company was founded in 1878 by German immigrant, Gerhard Heinrich Mennen, who founded his company in Newark, then later moved to Morristown, New Jersey in 1953. The company's first product was talcum-based powder, an innovation at the time. Its product line expanded to include over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and personal products such as the Skin Bracer, Speed Stick, and Baby Magic products.
The men's line began with  "Mennen Talcum for Men."  and this example dates to the '30s. It was found in a local shop with its content almost full. Areas of missing paint are apparent--the paint on the tin is easily washed off.
The product graphics are still strong and unblemished in some parts, and the front panel even retains the image of the founder. Locally, the brand was overshadowed by Johnson & Johnso, which dominated the powder market. Mennen found a niche with its men's personal care line like skin bracer, deodorants and after-shaves. Mennen was later sold in the '90s to manufacturing giant, Colgate-Palmolive.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

305. Campaign Memorabilia: MACAPAGAL TIN PLATE

MACAPAGAL FOR PRESIDENT! A 1961 campaign memorabilia promoting the candidacy of Diosdado Pangan Macapagal of the Lberal Party vs. President Garcia. 

Campaign gimmicks were not unknown in the 60s, and whe Vice President Diosdado P. Macapagal decided to run for presidency, he made sure his political promise will be remembered by every Filipino every time they set their table: "No more hungry Filipinos!!!". This campaign giveaway--a tin plate printed with Macapagal's name and famous quotation: "I'd rather g to jail than see the people go hungry!"-- was meant to do just that--and, as everyone knows, he succeeded, becoming the 9th president of the Philippines.
Found in a Bulacan shop, the plate is in a remarkable state of preservation--even it's plate stand was intact. I have seen a similar one years before ina Manila shop, a little rusty and dented--but which sold anyway, to my utter disappointment. This time, I would not be denied. Despite the rather steep price, I got this rare gem of a collectible, and a fine example of Pampanganiana, if there is such a term!
True,  Macapagal served the country to the best of his ability--but his term was considered unproductive, even with his Land Reform program. His term was badly tainted with the Stonehill corruption case, and in 1965,  he lost to Ferdinand Marcos--but at least he did not leave behind a country in disarray. The ouster of Joseph Estrada in 2001 paved the way for the rise to power of daughter, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who went on to assume the presidency. Her term was another story.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

304. 1970s FLINTSTONES PREMIUM CUPS

The Flintstones, an animated cartoon from Hanna Barbera Productions,  were a stone-age family from Bedrock, with a working class background. Like modern-day families, the Flintstones, along with their neighbors, the Rubbles, the Flinstones, headed by Fred and wife Wilma, had to contend with everyday concerns like eking out a living, issues in the workplace and at home. The cartoon was broadcast from 1 Sep. 1960 to 1 April 1966, and proved to be the most successful cartoon in 3 decades, topped only by the Simpsons. Naturally, Flintstones merchandising were made by the hundreds of thousands. This 1970 set of plastic mugs are from the popular Chewable FLINTSTONES Multiple Brand Vitamins. The plastic promo cups show Fred Flinstones, Dino and daughter Pebbles. They're about 3.75 in. tall and 2.75 in. in diameter. When I found this set in a U.S. flea market being sold for $5, I could not stop myself from screaming..."Yabba Dabba Dooooo"!

Friday, July 18, 2014

303. VINTAGE PHILIP MORRIS VENDOR'S BOX

We've had this wooden box for years...a 60s merchandising piece for Philip Morris 100s filter cigarettes meant to hold cigarette cartons and carried by ambulant vendors. I don't know how it came to be in the family, but we did have Sarao jeepneys that went on the road with our trusty drivers--maybe this was left inadvertently by one of the cigarette boys. The cigarette boys catered to pedestrians, jeepney passengers and jeepney drivers, hence, the handiness of this box which featured a section for loose change.
Philip Morris Incorporated began in the Philippines around 1955, when it entered into its exclusive licensing agreement with Filipino-owned La Suerte Cigar and Cigarette Factory. Its filter-tipped cigarette became a Philippine favorite. Boxes like these are still made--but the ones I see are either for candies or are of the home-made type, with a covered section for coins that was often shut open-and-close, creating the distinctive attention-getting 'takatak' sound that gave cigarette boys their names--'takatak' boys!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

302. Fire Away! BINONDO FIREMAN'S HELMET

Now here's a pick that I didn't have to pick. It was a freebie from a second-hand dealer whom I have patronized for some time. I never get out of his shop empty-handed, so out of appreciation, he gifted me with this aluminum helmet, painted red and inscribed with "East Binondo", which I assumed was a fire brigade in that Chinatown district. There is a logo: OCR-PICAG AFP, which I found out after googling, stood for Office for Civil relations-Public Information Civic Action Group, a defunct group of the Armed Forces during the Martial Law years.
It's apparent that this helmet has seen better days--it's been repainted several times as seen from the paint layers--it must have been blue before it was red! Maybe this was not even a fireman's helmet before, perhaps a protective gear from the violent rallies that went before the infamous Sept. 21, 1972 date.
There are Chinese incriptions written in permanent marker,on the inside of the helmet. Maybe you can figure that out, as I can't read Chinese. In the meanwhile, I left this helmet hanging on a wall shelf--it's rather off when displayed together with my antique salakots. I may never have use for this, but it's nifty to think that I have a genuine 'occupational collectible" from the Martial Law period!!